Erin Go Britain? Ireland Considers Enacting a Bill Criminalizing the Possession of Hateful Material

We recently discussed a troubling conviction in Great Britain of a man for his “toxic ideology.” Now Ireland appears ready to replicate that case a thousand fold. The proposed Criminal Justice (Incitement to Violence or Hatred and Hate Offences) Bill 2022 would criminalize the possession of material deemed hateful. It is a full frontal assault on speech and associational rights. The law would allow for sweeping authoritarian measures in defining opposing viewpoints hateful. Ireland appears to be picking up the cudgel of speech criminalization from Britain, an abusive power once used against the Irish.

The law is a free speech nightmare.  Even before addressing the crime of possession of harmful material, the law would “provide for an offence of condoning, denying or grossly trivialising genocide, war crimes, crimes against humanity and crimes against peace.” The crime of condoning, denying or grossly trivialising” criminal conduct would make most autocrats blush. The lack of any meaningful definition invites arbitrary enforcement. The law expressly states the intent to combat “forms and expressions of racism and xenophobia by means of criminal law.”

What is so striking about the law is how utterly unapologetic it is in the use of criminal law to curtail not just free speech but free thought. It allows for the prosecution of citizens for “preparing or possessing material likely to incite violence or hatred against persons on account of their protected characteristics.” That could sweep deeply into not just political but literary expression.

The interest of the Irish in assuming such authoritarian measures is chilling given their own history under British rule, including violent crackdowns on nonviolent protests like “Bloody Sunday.”  Free speech is now in a free fall in Great Britain and Ireland appears eager to follow suit.

The decline of free speech in the United Kingdom has long been a concern for free speech advocates  (here and here and here and here and here and here and here and here). Once you start as a government to criminalize speech, you end up on a slippery slope of censorship. What constitutes hate speech or “malicious communications” remains a highly subjective matter and we have seen a steady expansion of prohibited terms and words and gestures. That now includes criminalizing “toxic ideologies.” 

Under this pernicious law, a judge can order the search of a home based solely on a police officer’s sworn statement that he or she has “reasonable” grounds to believe illegal material may be present in a person’s home.

Again, the embrace of such laws by the Irish is crushingly ironic. Frank Ryan, who fought against the treaty, spoke for many radicals in declaring “as long as we have fists and boots, there will be no free speech for traitors.” Those anti-Treaty forces rejected the views of free speech that long defined Western nations. Now, Ireland is declaring “no free speech for haters” and assumes the authority to define who are haters and who are not.

The Irish people struggled for generations for equality and freedom. To now pick up the mantle of suppressing viewpoints is to make of mockery of the long struggle.

35 thoughts on “Erin Go Britain? Ireland Considers Enacting a Bill Criminalizing the Possession of Hateful Material”

  1. Make no mistake folks! This is headed toward criminalizing the possession of bibles!:

    We entered the last 8 years on 10/31/21 with this declaration:

    Prepare for much death and destruction toward their goals by 2025:

    This will all be finished by the end of this decade:

    1. Rob,

      You might not be aware but this web log only permits comments having two or fewer hyperlinks each. I edited your comment to allow it to post. If in the future you wish the readership to review more than two links, this can be accomplished by posting multiple comments having two or fewer hyperlinks per each.

  2. Like the Jews, the Irish breed and produce children within their own bloodline. Irish breeding practices produce an inordent quanitity of homosexuals, sex deviants and schizophrenics. Democracy is at work here. The law is to protect the large quanitiy of Irish homosexuls Irish breeding practices have produced. We have the same proplem with the Irish over here, Dylan Mulvaney, Uncle Ted, Megan Rohrer, Asher O’Callagan.

  3. No kidding what a mockery. Of free speech…and thought. The law you quoted is so arbitrary….it’s now a crime to condone genocide and to deny genocide. So if you speak about genocide….you run the risk of sounding like you deny it or or condone it….how else can it be talked about? Millions of ppl died by genocide. ..but you can only relate that historical fact.
    ..if you don’t condone or deny genocide…..and who says whats condoning or denying…..did the potatoes famine happen? Was it genocide? I don’t con d one it…but don’t deny it either…so that’s free speech….by the law you sourged….is talking about the potatoes famine over? Where does the rewrite end? When the greater European expansion ends? They are done. We are in mopping up.

  4. How ironic. They fought like hell for independence from Britain, only to end up in their self-imposed prison of censorship.

  5. Ireland ‘Should have – Would have – Could Have’ split from the U.K during Brexit. Scotland as Well.
    They could have then turned around and made a three-state Free-Trade agreement [IE., SCT., ENG.] to deal with the EU.
    But ‘Should have – Would have – Could Have’.

  6. There was a man named Michael Collins. He was the leader in the Irish fight for independence from England. The English said his speech was dangerous and that he should be stopped from speaking. It seems that with each new generation the memory of men who called for freedom in the past fades away. The call for censorship will never end and a continuing resistance to its evil should never be abandoned. If resistance is abandoned than a life lived like those in North Korea will be our fate. It seems that for now Ireland has forgotten the lessons of the past and she is willing to place the shackles back on her own wrist. Sadly the people of Ireland are being called to once again stop the madness.

  7. There was once a man by the name of William Wallace who fought for the freedom of Scotland. The English declared that his speech was hateful and dangerous. If he were alive today the English would be saying the same thing. He stood fast in his right to speak his mind. A movie was made about him and it was aptly named “Braveheart.” The naive think that authoritarianism is a thing of the past but it is alive and well in the hate crime mind. From his grave William Wallace is calling out for new Bravehearts to rise up today. Will you answer his call?

  8. One last try (can’t seem to post comments anymore). It’s just an example, but a ‘solution’ that could easily come here if we don’t wake up: ‘Ok, say whatever you like on Twitter or other; we will criminalize the speech itself, so use those platforms at your own peril.’ Nobody wants a search and seizure or prison time or to (in the most extreme scenario) to disappear.

    ‘Erin go global’ is more like it, and again, coming from the Left. I have history in Ireland and this is all gobsmacking, people don’t want it. There is no way any of this can be mere coincidence at this point.

  9. “Hate speech” is the secular version of “blasphemy.” Opinions that insult God has become: opinions that insult the mob.

    Both camps of censorship have a common root: Fear of dissent. And a common desire: To punish that dissent.

    There are assaults all over Western culture on the individual’s mind. The romp toward censorship is the political expression of that assault.

    1. I can’t ‘like’, as I’m not using a WordPress account, but, ‘like’, Sam. I see the parallel too. No offense intended to anyone, I have nothing against people of faith, if it is life affirming for you and does not harm yourself or others, great, but the woke might just be the future ‘recovering Catholics’ we used to hear about. That illustration would be doubly ironic for Ireland.

  10. OT (for which I apologize in advance): Yesterday I read a meaningful comment (IMHO) from someone posting as “FriscoDB” about free speech in our colleges. This was followed by a responsive comment from ZZDoc. Their comments were lost among the great number of general comments yesterday.
    So I made a brief comment asking that they repost them, because others (like me) do not always follow multi pages of comments. -Apparently related to time differences (I am on ET), ZZDoc reposted multiple comments, not knowing which one I was referring to, but I see none from FriscoDB.

    Therefore,WITHOUT his permission, I am reposting the comment of FriscoDB from yesterday:
    November 12, 2022 at 10:10 AM
    “Parents of high school students can make a difference by encouraging their children to choose a university that advocates and fosters free speech environments. Last week I saw a video of Ben Shapiro speaking before a crowd of a few thousand students in a large auditorium at Texas A&M regarding topics considered controversial in today’s political climate. Not a single interruption occurred at the event other than applause. Shapiro announced a Q&A would follow at the beginning of his remarks and eventually would take all comers. He asked that those who were critical of his remarks be given advantage in the cue. This is what constructive education looks like. These engagements enrich. So help your child choose a post-secondary educational experience wisely. When consumers start taking their purchases elsewhere, the administrators will change or suffer extinction.”

  11. I don’t think that the Europeans have ever really learned a damned thing. Western Europe was probably closest to real democracy in the latter half of the 19th century after the revolutions of 1848 but the 20th century has been a mixed bag and reflects a continuing downhill slide. This was only arrested temporarily by the US occupation post world war 2. Look at the litany of wars. 2 Balkan wars previous to World War 1, World War 1 which only served to start WW 2, The collapse of the Russian, German and Austro-Hungarian empires with multiple wars as countries broke apart and there was the Russo Polish War when Poland became Independent and Ukraine nearly won their independence, then the Spanish Civil War, Then the Italian wars in Africa, World War 2, The Greek civil war after WW 2, the crushing of dissent in Hungary in 1956, The Suez crisis of 1956-57 with England, France and Israel grabbing the Suez Canal. Then the crushing of Czechoslovakia in 1967-1968, Then the Yugoslavian breakup and Civil war, The collapse of Russia and the attempts to re-amalgamate Russia with wars in Chechnya, invasions of Georgia, Invasions of Ukraine twice. And most recently a former French High ranking general says Ukraine is not a European problem???. Europe makes the American involvement in wars look almost petty. I left out plenty of other examples. They were also not the best of helpers outside of Europe. They had to be forced to pay up to protect themselves. They looked at Russia and Putin as benign when there were obvious indications all along he was not (some American presidents bought that nonsense also). They never bought the fact that true freedom required constant vigilance, actual delineation of the limits of government, and seemingly at the drop of a hat they will go back to their authoritarian roots. Canada, New Zealand and Australia are almost as bad but they were granted their “freedom”, Ireland also but then had a civil war about it. We took ours. We are not Europeans!!!
    My ancestors were English, French, Scottish and Irish, others in the family have added in Chinese, Portuguese and German and more Irish. But they all had the sense to leave Europe and I am thankful every day for that. Sorry about the rant but continuing obvious stupidity tends to upset me.

  12. Ireland has much larger problems to solve.
    They can make themselves sovereign for instance.
    It’s not actually racist.

  13. Apparently the proposed legislation could result in charges against pro-life supporters or the prosecution of clergy, for example.

    Ireland would return to the age of book burning or banning books. Speaking out against a government policy or questioning the science would be criminalized.

    Disinformation or hate speech is subjective with no actual definition. Two thoughts on speech, first ‘one man’s junk is another man’s treasure’, substitute speech for junk. Justice Stewart on the definition of pornography, ‘I don’t know what pornography is, but I’ll know it when I see it.’

    The job of government is to protect not to censor.

    Democracy dies in darkness. Darkness falls when speech is censored.

  14. Left Ireland in 89, wife 5 kids came to Wisconsin via Manitoba (got my North American license there) as White Europeans do not get green cards easily. Was very involved in politics there. Now I see what is one of the most “Woke” states in the E.U. From being one of the most Catholic states in Europe is basically atheist now and I believe that changed the culture. If asked what I am culturally and my previous nationally I describe my self as a “Counter Reformation European Catholic” who now has more in common with my Hispanic folks than my Irish family

  15. more detail:
    I referred to German criminal code § 130 StGB which was amended Oct 20 this year.
    The reason were ‘treaty violation proceedings’ brought by the EU commission against Germany.

  16. Ireland is part of the western world’s “democracies” along with the others that I feel no need to name. The Irish example may be the most blatant, but they all have important people who think along similar lines. This would also include New Zealand and Australia. This is what the left in America wants to emulate. They see censorship by our betters as a good thing for the planet. Now we in America have woken up to election results that show our country is probably not that far behind this thinking.

  17. A similar law was recently adopted by Germany (without any public or parliamentary discussion) hidden in a bigger set of unrelated laws. The “excuse” given was it is just something that the EU “mandates” and “doesn’t really mean anything”. I assume all EU countries will have this law soon.

  18. Do we have any empirical evidence that one’s words have injured a rational person on this planet? What is the excuse for this extraordinary police action?

    1. Overpopulation is causing/contributing to many problems here in the U.S. Ilegal immigration contributes to higher costs and scarcity of housing,
      crime, and pressure to keep wages low. Pope Impious tells billions of non-thinking catholics to produce more catholics, and the rich here are the major beneficiaries of all of this…while they live in guarded, gated communities far from the madding crowd. Biden won’t stop this, neither will the GOP. Reap what you sew.

      1. In Germany Dr Goebels kept Dr Mabuse vaulted for the duration of the Nazi regime. Goebels regarded Mabuse as a direct existential threat to Nazi rule. Goebels was an educated and cultured man, but feared Mabuse who was only a fictional character.

    2. It’s falling the same as other great empires of history. Asia will take over, at least the financial part of hegemony of nations, everything else will follow. We have the agonizing privilege of watching it happen as or future grandchildren will study our demise in school.

    3. THE WESTERN COUNTRIES ARE ABOUT TO BE DESTROYED AND SENT TO HELL ,OUR FATHER warned themto stop all the EVIL they were embracing,BUT THEY REJECTED HIM,and the womensaid we are in control now and we are going to take over the world,”WRONG”our FATHER has given all his enemies madness ,insanity,and NOW they will be destroyed…they won’t have a clue what hit them..TILL THEY SEE THE SIGN THAT SAYS..”ALL YOU WHO ENTER HERE,ABANDON ALL HOPE” that where THE UK ISLANDS ARE HEADED..under the ovean..they will disappear under the ocean forever..

  19. This is where the state begins to compel speech by forcing people to say things that aren’t true. It is a form of mind control implemented by those who are currently in control. They cannot conceive of a moment when their thoughts and words might come under the microscope for judgement. Canada has already done this and I’m sure Australia and NZ are doing the same. Remember Solzhenitsyn’s “Live not by Lies” essay and you won’t lose your way.

      1. As a child of the Cold War and of a South Pacific Navy veteran, I truly never thought I would live through seeing my country rot from within. The Cold War wasn’t really over when the Berlin Wall fell. The battlefield simply moved to the States. We might have recovered if Trump had stepped aside and behaved like a man, not a narcissistic imbecile, but that ship sadly sailed past us this week. At least I am on the far side of the age spectrum.

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